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Brined roast chicken with lemon and thyme recipe

Brined roast chicken with lemon and thyme recipe

33 ratings

This tasty roast chicken recipe is extra delicious thanks to a really easy cooking technique. Brining the chicken overnight gives the meat loads of flavour and ensures it stays moist and succulent. Enhanced with fragrant lemon and fresh thyme and served with a herby gravy, it's a special Sunday lunch the whole family will love. See method

  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins to prepare plus overnight brining and 1 1/2 hours to cook
  • 481 calories / serving


  • 100g sea salt flakes
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 55ml (2fl oz) red wine vinegar
  • 1.4kg (3lb) whole chicken
  • 2 lemons, 1 whole for cooking, 1 cut into wedges
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
  • 20g (3/4oz) softened butter

For the gravy

  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 250ml (8fl oz) hot chicken stock
  • 80g (3oz) chilled butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped tarragon

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    27g 38%
  • Saturates

    15g 75%
  • Sugars

    2g 2%
  • Salt

    2.3g 38%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 1.7g Protein 50.8g Fibre 0g


  1. To make the brining liquid, combine 2 litres (4pts) of water, the sea salt and the sugar in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the salt and sugar dissolves. Add the vinegar. Pour the brine into an extra-large plastic container and allow to cool. Submerge the chicken into the brine, seal the container and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, remove the chicken from the brine. Discard the brine. Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Pierce the lemon all over with a skewer and put in the chicken’s cavity, along with the rosemary, thyme and one half of the garlic.
  4. Put the chicken in a roasting pan, tuck in the wings and loosely truss (tie) the legs. Rub the softened butter all over the chicken and season. Put the other half of the garlic in the roasting tin.
  5. Roast for 1 hour, or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer. If the chicken is browning too much, cover the top with foil. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  6. To make the gravy, simmer the pan juices over a medium heat, scraping loose any caramelised bits from the bottom of pan. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half (about 4-5 minutes). Add the chicken stock and continue to simmer until reduced by two-thirds (another 10-12 minutes). Gradually add the chilled butter, a cube at a time, whisking to incorporate before adding more. Season to taste and stir in the chopped parsley and tarragon. Serve with the roast chicken and lemon wedges.

See more Roast dinner ideas

For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.

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